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Four-stroke vs. two-stroke engines Mon, Dec 22, 2008
What's the difference between a four-stroke engine and a two-stroke engine?  This topic seems to come up every once in a while, so I'll record the answer for posterity: 

Four-stroke engines are in pretty much all cars and trucks driving on the road, whether gas or diesel or sporty or work-y or anything else.  The "four-stroke" refers to the four parts of a cycle:  Intake, compression, combustion, exhaust.  HowStuffWorks has a great article with an animation. 

Two-stroke engines are generally in lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and dirt bikes.  The "two-stroke" refers to the two parts of a cycle:  Compression and combustion.  Again, HowStuffWorks has a great article with an animation. 

Why use either one?  Two-stroke engines produce more power and weigh less, but they're also louder, require a mixture of oil and gas, don't last as long, aren't as fuel-efficient, and produce more pollution than four-stroke engines.  The reason they're used is because of their power and weight properties. #science


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